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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Pentagon Reined in Cheney’s Plans for Iran Strikes; Plus, Profile on Douglas Feith, Thomas McI

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Pentagon Reined in Cheney’s Plans for Iran Strikes
Analysis by Gareth Porter (Inter Press Service)

A proposal by Vice President Dick Cheney to strike Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps bases last summer was apparently thwarted by the Pentagon because of concerns that it could spark an all-out war. But that was before Adm. William Fallon was dismissed as head of Central Command and replaced with Gen. David Petraeus, a Cheney ally. Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

Douglas Feith
A former Pentagon official whose office generated information that was used to push the United States toward war with Iraq, Feith recently published a memoir in which he blames others for the missteps in Iraq.

Thomas McInerney
Connected to various military contractors and hardline advocacy groups, the Fox News analyst and retired general received talking points from the Bush administration as part of a Pentagon program to influence U.S. views on the “war on terror.”

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Olmert Takes a Break; Hagee Wins Applause
By Nathan Guttman (The Forward)

At the annual meeting of the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the presidential candidates pledged their support for Israel, the group’s agenda veered to the right, and controversial Christian Right leader John Hagee earned enthusiastic applause. Read full story.

A Foregone Conclusion
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

The Bush administration’s arguments for invading Iraq were largely unsupported by the evidence provided by the U.S. intelligence community, according to a long-awaited Senate report. Read full story.

Protesters Draw Attention to Guantanamo
By Haider Rizvi (Inter Press Service)

As the Bush administration continues to defend indefinite detentions of prisoners in the “war on terror,” protesters go to trial. Read full story.

LETTERS

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Featured Profiles

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


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From the Wires

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Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


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The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


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An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


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The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


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Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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